Tuesday, January 17, 2023

GREGG TOLAND: Painting Pictures with a Cinematographer's Movie Camera

We all know that even after his death, Orson Welles was able to block Ted Turner from colorizing his motion picture classic about the life of "Charles Foster Kane", but Welles wasn't the person who created the image seen below for 1941's, "Citizen Kane". That image was the work of Cinematographer Gregg Toland.

In 2003, Gregg Wesley Toland was voted one of the ten most influential cinematographers in history, by the 8,400 members of the "International Cinematographers Guild" with its membership throughout the world.

 According to the website, NFI:

a cinematographer, also called the director of photography (DOP), is the crew chief that is responsible for the camera and light crews. Cinematographers are masters of cinematography--the art of visual storytelling used in films and television.


Briefly, Gregg Toland was born on May 29, 1904, in Charleston, Illinois. In 1910, his now divorced mother moved to Los Angeles, and in 1919, 15-years-old Gregg started working as an office boy for the Fox Film Corporation, a studio owned by William Fox, that had only been founded four-years earlier. In 1920, Toland became an assistant camera man, but the work that he is remembered for, began six-years later.

This is not a biography of the man, but chosen examples of Gregg Wesley Toland's imagery taken from some of the 68 motion pictures he filmed. 

It is always best to start at the beginning and that found Gregg Toland receiving no credit for any of his cinematography work, but being trained by the future three-time "Academy Award" winning cinematographer Arthur Edeson, pictured belowWho among other films was the DOP for 1930's, "All Quiet on the Western Front", 1931's, "Frankenstein", 1932's, "The Old Dark House", 1933's, "The Invisible Man", 1935's, "Mutiny on the Bounty", 1941's, "The Maltese Falcon", and 1942's, "Casablanca".

Working with Arthur Edeson, one of Gregg Toland's earliest work was a horror mystery still referenced today in cinematography classes.

THE BAT released on March 14, 1926

The film was directed by Roland West, who also directed 1925's, "The Monster" starring Lon Chaney, Sr. 

The sets were designed and built by William Cameron Menzies, the director of the 1936, H.G. Wells', science fiction classic, "Things to Come", the 1953 science fiction cult feature, "Invaders from Mars", and the man who burnt down Atlanta, Georgia, in 1939's, "Gone with the Wind". My article, "William Cameron Menzies: Art Director, Production Designer and Motion Picture Director", will be found at:


Menzies sets became part of the mood for this haunted house mystery used by cinematographer Arthur Edeson and his trainee Gregg Toland.

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 9413, A HOLLYWOOF EXTRA released on June 17, 1928

This 11-minute film would have disappeared into forgotten history, if not for an accident that effected Gregg Toland's filming. While filming a scene, one of the two 40-watt light bulbs burned out and no other was available. Toland just went on shooting the scene in the darkened room and created his technique of chiaroscuro, the art of using strong contrasts between light and dark imagery.

Gregg Toland started being credited either under photography or photographed by, two categories found under the general heading of cinematography. Both are alternative terms used by the motion picture industry to avoid designating one person over another as a cinematographer, at a higher pay scale, during the period of the late 1920's through the 1930's. 

Toland often shared this credit with George Barnes, pictured below. Barnes was later shown as DOP on both director Cecil B. DeMille's, 1949, "Samson and Delilah", and 1952's, "The Greatest Show on Earth", on Alfred Hitchcock's, 1945's, "Spellbound", and producer George Pal's, 1953, classic version of H.G. Wells', "War of the Worlds".

THE RESCUE released on January 12, 1929

"The Rescue" was the first motion picture that Gregg Toland's name was shown as a cinematographer. However, his was an uncredited position, while George Barnes was listed above him as the credited cinematographer. Working with the two was the uncredited James Wong Howe.

Ronald Coleman portrayed "Tom Lingard", and French-American actress Lili Damita portrayed "Lady Edith Travers", in this story based upon a novel by author Joseph Conrad.

"The Rescue" was followed by Gregg Toland's first motion picture with full cinematography credit, a position he still shared with George Barnes. 

BULLDOG DRUMMOND released on May 2, 1929

"Bulldog Drummond" was also the first sound feature film Gregg Toland worked upon. The sets were designed and built by William Cameron Menzies, and the feature also starred Ronald Coleman in his first sound movie.

Eleven motion pictures followed working with George Barnes and others until Gregg Toland was the only name under the heading of cinematography.

TONIGHT OR NEVER released December 17, 1931

The role of "Nella Vago" was meant to help Gloria Swanson's career, which was in decline since the advent of sound. She played an opera singer, but unlike her other sound films, did not sing. During the following three years, Swanson would only make one film in each year, and then came a gap of 7-years until 1941, with only one motion picture released that year. Next, Gloria Swanson had another gap of 5-years until her next single feature, once again followed by a 4-year gap until director Billy Wilder's, 1950, "Sunset Boulevard".

Melvyn Douglas
portrayed "Jim Fletcher". Douglas got the role, his first on-screen appearance, because he had played it on the Broadway stage in the original November 8, 1930 through June 1931, production.

Between director Mervyn LeRoy's direction and Gregg Toland's cinematography, several scenes were considered to vulgar, even for pre-motion picture code America, by Paul Breen and the Hays Office Censors. Especially noted by Breen and removed, was a love sequence between Swanson and Douglas.

In 1934, after the motion picture production code went into effect, the movie was refused release in the United States by the Hayes Office, and this continued with the requests for 1935, and 1937.

Among Toland's solo credits for cinematography during this period of his career was:

THE TENDERFOOT released on May 23, 1932

This forgotten comedy western starred comedian Joe E. Brown portraying "Calvin Jones", and Ginger Rodgers portraying "Ruth Weston".

Five motion pictures later, and Gregg Toland filmed another comedy. This one directed by Mervyn LeRoy, who had just directed Ginger Rodgers, with 8th billing, behind Joan Blondell, and Ruby Keller in Busby Berkeley's "Gold Diggers of 1933". For my readers interested in Berkeley's career, my article "Busby Berkeley: Imagination In Dance On The Silver Screen!", contains examples of Gregg Toland's work on Berkeley's, 1930, "Whoppie", and 1933's, "Roman Scandals", both starring singer comedian Eddie Cantor, and will be found at:


TUGBOAT ANNIE released on August 4, 1933

Marie Dressler portrayed "Annie Brennan". She was a Canadian stage actress turned motion picture comedian. Dressler had co-starred as "Tillie", with Charlie Chaplin and Mable Norman, in the very first full-length comedy motion picture, 1914's, "Tillie's Punctured Romance". Later the actress would win the "Best Actress" "Academy Award" for the comedy drama, 1930's, "Min and Bill", opposite Wallace Beery.

Wallace Beery
portrayed "Terry Brennan". The same year that Dressler won her "Oscar", Beery received his "Best Actor" "Academy Award", opposite Jackie Cooper for 1931's, "The Champ". The "Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences" held the awards for both 1930 and 1931 in one ceremony. Berry and Cooper co-starred in the 1934 version of author Robert Lewis Stevenson's "Treasure Island", and back in 1925, Beery portrayed "Professor George Edward Challenger", in stop-motion animator Willis O'Brien's version of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, "The Lost World". 

Robert Young portrayed "Alec Brennan". Young started out in silent shorts in 1928, and at this time was considered a "B" film actor by MGM and would remain as such into his television career.

Maureen O'Sullivan portrayed "Pat Severn". Nine motion pictures prior to this one, O'Sullivan had first portrayed "Jane Parker", opposite Johnny Weissmuller, in 1932's, "Tarzan the Ape Man". That pre-motion picture code movie contains a total nude swimming scene by the actress. Two movies after this feature would be her second "Tarzan" film, 1934's, "Tarzan and His Mate".

Below, seated left to right, Wallace Beery, Marie Dressler, director Mervyn LeRoy, and writer Norman Reilly Raine. Leaning over, as if to speak to Marie Dressler on her right, is Gregg Toland.

In late 1934, Gregg Toland's talent as a solo cinematographer was on display bringing to life Russian author Leo Tolstoy's, 1899, novel "Resurrection".

WE LIVE AGAIN aka: RESURRECTION released on November 1, 1934

The motion picture was directed by Rouben Mamoulian, who had directed Frederic March, portraying "Prince Dmitri Ivanovich Nekhlyudov", in his "Best Actor" "Academy Award" winning role in the 1931 version of author Robert Lewis Stevenson's, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde".

Opposite March in this film was Ukrainian Swedish, Russian born, actress Anna Sten portraying "Katusha Maslova".

The story is about a Russian nobleman who seduces an innocent peasant girl and abandons her. Years later, she is on trial as a criminal and he is in the jury blaming himself for causing her life of crime.

Comparing Gregg Toland's filmed love scenes in 1934's, "We Live Again", to Toland's "vulgar" love scenes in 1931's, "Tonight or Never". According to the "Notes", on the "Turner Classic Movies" website:

The same Joseph Breen of the Hays Office Censors, wrote in a personal letter to Will H. Hayes:
Though dealing with a sex affair and its attendant consequences, the story has been handled with such fine emphasis on the moral values of repentance and retribution, as to emerge with a definite spiritual quality. We feel that this picture could, in fact, serve as a model for the proper treatment of the element of illicit sex in pictures.


In short, Toland's filming of sex in 1934, had morale value for the American viewing audience, but his filming of sex in 1931, the exact same way, didn't.

Gregg Toland went from Leo Tolstoy to Victor Hugo with actor Fredric March.

LES MISERABLES released on April 20, 1935

The motion picture was directed by Richard Boleslawski, who had just directed Ronald Colman, Loretta Young, and Colin Clive in the 1935 epic, "Clive of India". In 1936, Boleslawski directed the excellent version of "Three Godfathers", starring Chester Morris, Lewis Stone, and Walter Brennan. For those of my readers interested in that feature and all the others. My article, "The Three Godfathers': A Christmas Allegory Interpreted By John Ford, William Wyler, Richard Boleslawski and Edward Le Saint", is at:


Frederic March portrayed "Jean Valjean/Champmathieu", Charles Laughton portrayed "Inspector Emile Javert", Sir Cedric Harwicke portrayed "Bishop Bienvenue", Rochelle Hudson portrayed "Cosette", Francis Drake portrayed "Eponine", and John Beal portrayed "Marius".

Gregg Toland would be nominated for the "Best Cinematography" "Academy Award".

At the ceremony, Toland joined Ray June for director Howard Hawks' "Barbary Coast", and Victor Miller for Cecil B. DeMile's "The Crusades" in the category. All three lost to a write-in entry, Hal Mohr, for directors Max Reinhardt and William Dieterle's version of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

Two motion pictures later, and Gregg Toland became part of a somewhat real horror story of sorts, over a classic horror feature's cinematography.

MAD LOVE released on July 12, 1935

The motion picture was based upon the fantasy/horror novel "Les Mains d'Orlac (The Hands of Orlac)" by French writer Maurice Renard. Which is about a famous pianist surviving a train wreck, but having his damaged hands replaced by those of a murderer.

The novel was adapted for a screenplay by Guy Endore. Endore had written the classic horror novel, "The Werewolf of Paris", which is considered in literature to werewolves. As author Bram Stoker's "Dracula" is to vampires. Endore's novel became the basis for Hammer Films, 1961,"Curse of the Werewolf". He also wrote the screenplays for both director Tod Browning's, 1935, "Mark of the Vampire", and "The Devil Doll". My article, "Guy Endore: Black Listing and Communism in the Motion Picture Industry", may be read at:


The screenplay for "Mad Love", was by John L. Balderston. Who worked on both 1931's, "Dracula" and "Frankenstein", 1932's, "The Mummy" and 1935's, "Bride of Frankenstein". My article, "John L. Balderston: Writing Classic Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction Screenplays", will be found at:


As the above poster indicates, Peter Lorre portrayed "Dr. Gogol". Lorre had just been seen in director Alfred Hitchcock's original 1934 version of his "The Man Who Knew Too Much". After this film, the actor would be seen in the excellent 1935 version of Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky's, "Crime and Punishment".  My article that includes this motion picture, "PETER LORRE: Overlooked, or Forgotten Performances", will be read at:


Frances Drake portrayed "Yvonne Orlac". Drake would follow this feature film with 1936's, "The Invisible Ray", co-starring with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, in one of his rare "good-guy" roles.

Colin Clive portrayed pianist "Stephen Orlac". Two feature films earlier had found the actor in 1935's, "Bride of Frankenstein". Clive followed this feature with the 1935 comedy, "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo", co-starring with Ronald Colman and Joan Bennett. My article, "Colin Clive: Henry, Not Victor Frankenstein and Alcoholism", may be read at:


Which brings me to the motion pictures director:

Karl Freund was born in Bohemia, Austria-Hungry, and worked in that country's motion picture industry as both a director and cinematographer. As a cinematographer it was Freund that filmed director Fritz Lang's classic science fiction work, 1927's, "Metropolis". When Karl Freund came to the United States, he was the cinematographer on 1931's "Dracula", and an uncredited second director on that feature. As a director only, he filmed Boris Karloff's, 1932, "The Mummy".

In that role of a director only, Karl Freund's 20th and last feature film in that position was "Mad Love". 

As a cinematographer, between 1911 and 1960, Freund would have 165 titles to his credit. However, that is misleading, because Karl Freund also individually filmed 16 episodes of the forgotten television series, "Willy", 7 episodes of the television series "December Bride", 126 episodes of the television series "Our Miss Brooks", and 115 episodes of "I Love Lucy".

The Cinematography on "Mad Love":

The original cinematographer was Chester A. Lyons. Lyons had started work in 1917 and "Mad Love" would be his 76th feature film out of the 79 that would make-up his career. However, Freund kept criticizing his work, and the two clashed over filming the movie. Karl Freund complained to producer John W. Considine, Jr., Lyons was fired, and the director's new choice, Gregg Toland, hired.

However, there were still problems and tensions on set, because "cinematographer" Karl Freund, could not stop "making suggestions" to cinematographer Gregg Toland. However, the majority of what is seen on-screen is Toland's work.

According to actress Frances Drake, as quoted in author Gregory William Mank's, 2001, "Hollywood Cauldron: Thirteen Horror Films from the Genre's Golden Age", even the producer got into the act:
Freund wanted to be the cinematographer at the same time. You never knew who was directing. The producer was dying to, to tell you the truth, and of course he had no idea of directing.

The following are excellent examples of the Gregg Toland's work on "Mad Love".

THESE THREE released on March 18, 1936

This was Gregg Toland's 1st ofmotion pictures with director William Wyler. Wyler's previous motion picture was the 1935 comedy, "The Gay Deception", co-starring actor, Francis Lederer, and actress Francis Dee. His next film would be author Sinclair Lewis', "Dodsworth", starring Walter Huston and Ruth Chatterton.

There has always been confusion between director William Wyler and director Billy Wilder's films, because of how similar sounding their names are. I wrote an article to have a little fun with that, "Director WILLIAM WYLER--Director BILLY WILDER: Clearing Some of the Confusion Among Classic Movie Lovers", at:


The screenplay for "These Three" was by playwright Lillian Hellman. She had been forced into a rewrite by Joseph Breen, from the Hayes Censorship office, of her award-winning play, "The Children's Hour". Which was about a student at a private girl's school lying that two of her teachers were in a Lesbian relationship. 

For the screenplay, the Lesbian relation became a Lie about the two teachers, Miriam Hopkins as "Martha", Merle Oberon as "Karen", having a sexual relationship with the same man, Joel McCrea as "Dr. Cardin". 

Six feature films later, Gregg Toland would be nominated for another "Academy Award" for his cinematography.

DEAD END released on August 27, 1937

Above, the United States poster, below, the United Kingdom poster.

Playwright Sidney Kingsley wrote "Dead End", the play opened in October 1935, and ran for two years on Broadway. It looked at the lives of some of the people living in slum housing on a New York Street at the East River's dead-end. As compared to those in the luxury apartments with a beautiful view of the East River and completely unaware of the those living in the slums directly below their view.

Producer Samuel Goldwyn purchased the rights to the play, playwright Lillian Hellman wrote the screenplay version, and production on the feature film began May 4, 1937.  

This was the second motion picture that Gregg Toland filmed for director William Wyler. Wyler would follow this feature with 1938's, "Jezebel", starring Bette Davis and Henry Fonda. 

The motion picture's cast included the original young actors portraying "The Dead End Kids" in Kingsley's play. They would go on to be known as the "Little Tough Guys", the "East Side Kids", and then the "Bowery Boys". As the group changed over the years on screen there was one exception,  actor Huntz Hall.

Sylvia Sydney portrayed "Drina Gordon", Joel McCrea portrayed "Dave Connell". Claire Trevor portrayed "Francey", and was nominated for the "Best Supporting Actress" "Academy Award".

Producer Samuel Goldwyn wanted George Raft to portray "Hugh 'Baby Face' Martin", but he declined because the role was too unsympathetic. It went to Humphrey Bogart! Most audiences at the time and I expect some of my readers can easily picture Bogart in the gangster role. However, in 1939, there would be my article's title, "HUMPHREY BOGART: Horror Movie Actor", found at;

Below is how Gregg Toland viewed the people at the dead end.

Immediately after filming "Dead End", producer Samuel Goldwyn assigned Gregg Toland to Goldwyn's first technicolor motion picture. Which seemed a Busby Berkeley musical without Busby Berkeley. It had a Busby Berkeley style story about a movie producer choosing a "simple girl" to be "Miss Humanity", and large scale production numbers with beautiful women.

THE GOLDWYN FOLLIES released on February 2, 1938

This was the last motion picture with a musical score by George Gershwin, he passed away on July 11, 1937, with filming starting the following month.

Instead of Busby Berkeley choreographing the dancing. Samuel Goldwyn used George Balanchine, a Russian born ballet dancer. Balanchine worked on Broadway as a choreographer for strictly ballet sequences. His two most famous are from Richard Rodgers, 1936, "On Your Toes". They are the widely known, "Slaughter on 10th Avenue", and "Zenobia Pas de Deux". George Balanchine's only previous motion picture work as a choreographer was in the British film, 1929's, "Dark Red Roses". That picture contained, as does this feature, a ballet sequence.

It was up to Gregg Toland to film the picture and musical sequences as if they were being shot for a Busby Berkeley motion picture.

KIDNAPPED released on May 27, 1938

This version of author Robert Lewis Stevenson's novel had a strange directing story. Initially legitimate stage director Otto Lugwig Preminger, after only three low budget "B" movies, found himself assigned by Daryl F. Zanuck to this major production. The problems for Otto Preminger was that, one, he had never read the novel, two, he was not familiar with Scotland, and three, coming from Austria-Hungry, didn't understand the people. However, he was told to film the motion picture and began, but would be replaced by Alfred L. Werker, 1934's, "House of Rothchild", after Zanuck saw the first rushes.

Gregg Toland was the credited cinematographer and had no problem working with either director.

Next, Gregg Toland was assigned to a motion picture, once again directed by William Wyler, and starring Gary Cooper and Merle Oberon.

THE COWBOY AND THE LADY released on November 17, 1938

Although Thomas T. Moulton won "The Best Sound, Recording" "Academy Award", and the motion picture was nominated for two other "Academy Awards", Alfred Newman for "Best Music, Original Score", and Lionel Newman and Arthur Quenzer for "Best Original Song". 

I'll let "The New York Times" film credit, Frank Nugent, on November 25, 1938, speak to the box office failure of the movie because it:
just isn't funny enough to justify the very queer picture of American politics and society it presents. 

About Gary Cooper: 

the picture's greatest asset, has his moments of diminishing returns when he seems to be quoting himself, or when, utterly forsaken by the authors and the director, he looks about helplessly, like a ghost who wonders if he isn't haunting the wrong house. 

Perhaps the problem  with the motion picture was with the director, or should I say directors? The credited on-screen director was H.C. Porter, this was only his sixth of twenty-two films through 1957. Apparently, producer Samuel Goldwyn thought Porter needed help after he viewed the rushes. Goldwyn replaced Porter with the uncredited Stuart Heiseler, a film editor turned director, on only his second motion picture as a director, but Goldwyn still didn't like what he saw. So, to clean-up the motion picture, Goldwyn now assigned the uncredited William Wyler.

Perhaps the problem wasn't with directing, but with the screenplay? The credited original story was by Leo Mc Carey and Frank R. Adams. While the actual screenplay was credited to S.N. Behrman and Sonya Levien. However, there were also thirteen uncredited contributors to that screenplay, before it was approved.

 Whatever the reason, it didn't come from Gregg Toland's cinematography.

Gregg Toland moved from filming one Samuel Goldwyn box office failure, to the filming of a Samuel Goldwyn gothic romantic classic starring Merle Oberon and earning him the "Best Cinematography" "Academy Award".

WUTHERING HEIGHTS premiered in Hollywood on March 24, 1939

This motion picture version of authoress Emily Bronte's love story was directed by William Wyler. Wyler had just released 1938's "Jezebel". 

The screenplay had two credited writers and one uncredited.

The first credited writer was Charles MacArthur, who had adapted a Rudyard Kipling poem into the screen story for 1939's, "Gunga Din". The second credited screenplay writer was playwright, Ben Height, who among other work, had created the screen story for producer Howard Hughes', 1932, "Scarface", directed by Howard Hawks.

The one uncredited contributing writer, was John Huston. This was two-years before his first directing assignment, 1941's, "The Maltese Falcon", but who in 1938, had co-written "Jezebel", and "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse" starring Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, and Claire Trevor.

Huston followed this picture as main screenplay writer of the Bette Davis and Paul Muni, 1939, "Juarez". My article on four of Huston's sometimes overlooked feature films, "JOHN HUSTON: 'Moby Dick', 1956, 'The Barbarian and the Geisha', 1958, 'Freud: The Secret Passion', 1962, 'The List of Adrian Messenger', 1963", can be read:


Merle Oberon portrayed "Catherine 'Cathy' Earnshaw Linton". Between 1938's, "The Cowboy and the Lady", and this feature film. The actress returned to England and appeared in producer Alexander Korda's comedy, 1939's, "Over the Moon", opposite Rex Harrison. Then two months after the United Kingdom declared war on Germany, Merle Oberon followed that motion picture opposite Sir Ralph Richardson, in 1939's, "The Lion Has Wings", about the Royal Air Force.

Sir Laurence Olivier portrayed "Heathcliff". Seven months before Hitler invaded Poland and the United Kingdom entered the Second World War, Olivier appeared, opposite Sir Ralph Richardson in 1939's, "Q Planes". He portrayed a British Secret Service agent investing a German spy ring.

David Niven portrayed "Edgar Linton". Niven had just co-starred with Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone, in 1938's, "The Dawn Patrol", about a British flying unit in 1915 France. After this picture, Niven co-starred with leading lady, Ginger Rodgers and Charles Colburn, in the 1939 comedy, "Bachelor Mother".

Two motion pictures later, found Gregg Toland filming Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman's American motion picture debut.

INTERMEZZO released on September 22, 1939

Playing opposite Ingrid Bergman as "Anita Hoffman", was British actor, Leslie Howard as "Holger Brandt". Immediately after this pictures release, American audiences saw Howard as "Ashley Wilkes", in 1939's, "Gone with the Wind". 

The screenplay was based upon a, 1936, Swedish motion picture about the love affair of a pianist, Bergman, who is teaching a young girl, and the girl's violinist father, Howard. Whose infidelity with the pianist almost ends in tragedy for his daughter. 

The film is very intimate and Gregg Toland had to consider how to make the playing of both the piano and violin, almost like characters themselves, appeal to an audience.

Two more films later, was a look at Depression Era America, filmed by Gregg Toland during the technically, final three-months of "The Great Depression".

THE GRAPES OF WRATH released on January 24, 1940

As the above poster indicates, the motion picture screenplay was based upon author John Steinbeck's, Pulitzer Prize winning novel, only published on April 14, 1939. The realistic and tragic screenplay was by "Best Screenplay" "Academy Award" nominated writer Nunnally Johnson, 1934's, "The House of Rothchild", 1936's, "The Prisoner of Shark Island", and 1939's, "Jesse James".

The motion picture was directed by "Best Director" "Academy Award" winning John Ford. Ford had just released 1939's, "Drums Along the Mohawk", and he would follow this feature with 1940's "The Long Voyage Home".

Henry Fonda portrayed one of his most iconic roles, that of John Steinbeck's, "Tom Joad". He had just portrayed "Frank James", for the first time, in 1939's, "Jesse James", opposite Tyrone Power in the title role.

My in depth look about the writing of the novel by John Steinbeck, the motion picture by John Ford, and the folk song by Woody Guthrie, is entitled, "John Steinbeck, John Ford, Henry Fonda, and Woody Guthrie: 'Tom Joad!", at:


The following stills of Gregg Toland's work begs the question why he wasn't nominated by the "Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences"?


Above, "Best Supporting Actress" "Academy Award" winner, Jane Darwell is sitting next to Henry Fonda, portraying "Ma Joad".

Although "The Cowboy and the Lady" is labeled a "Western", it speaks to modern, 1938, rodeo cowboys and not the "Wild West". Gregg Toland's first of two, "Old West" Western's, was another of his films with director William Wyler.

THE WESTERNER premiered in London, England, on September 5, 1940

The setting is 1882, Vingaroon, Texas, and the screenplay is about the legendary "Judge Roy Bean", portrayed by Walter Brennan, in his "Best Supporting Actor" "Academy Award" winning role. As "The Only Law West of the Pecos". "Bean" is in love, from afar, with the English actress, he never met, "Lillie Langtry", portrayed by Lillian Bond. 

Into "Bean's" town comes a drifter, "Cole Harden", portrayed by Gary Cooper, accused of stealing a horse owned by the Judge's sidekick, "Chickenfoot", portrayed by Paul Hurst. "Bean" and "Harden" become friends, but enter homesteaders led by the father of "Jane-Ellen Matthews", portrayed by Doris Davenport, and the friendship becomes strained.

I expect some of my readers are familiar with the next film, but many are not. Unless they're either John Ford, or John Wayne fans, but even so, that may not make the picture familiar to them.

THE LONG VOYAGE HOME premiered in New York City on October 8, 1940

The screenplay was adapted from four very early one-act plays, by playwright Eugene O'Neill, found in his collection "The Long Voyage Home". The four are, "Bound East for Cardiff", 1914, "In the Zone", 1917, "The Long Voyage Home", 1917, and the "Moon of the Caribees", 1918. All four-take place on the merchant ship, "Glencairn".

That screenplay was written by Dudley Nichols, the John Ford films, 1935's, "The Informer", 1936's, "Mary of Scotland", 1937's, "The Hurricane", and 1939's, "Stagecoach". 

"Best Director" "Academy Award" nominated John Ford, would follow this motion picture with another feature based upon American literature. His 1941, version of author Erskine Caldwell's, "Tobacco Road"

The three leads were headed by John Wayne portraying "Olsen". Two films before this one, Wayne had appeared in director Raul Walsh's, 1940, "Dark Command", a fictionalized story of the Civil War's "Quantrill's Raiders". In 1930, Walsh had renamed Marion Robert Morrison, John Wayne, for the lead in the directors 70mm, wide-screen western, "The Big Trail". My reader will find that story in my article, "JOHN WAYNE, WILLIAM FOX: Grandeur and "The Big Trail", at:


Thomas Mitchell portrayed "Driscoll". Mitchell had just co-starred with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Rita Hayworth, in writer and director Ben Hecht's, 1940, "Angels Over Broadway". He would follow this film with 1941's, "Flight from Destiny".

Ian Hunter portrayed "Smitty". The South African actor had recently co-starred with Clark Gable and Joan Crawford, in 1940's, "Strange Cargo", featuring Peter Lorre and Paul Lukas. Hunter followed this feature film with British playwright Noel Coward's, 1940, "Bitter Sweet", a musical starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.

Ford and Nichols moved the O'Neill plays forward to 1940, just after England declared war on Germany. This is actually a character study of the crew of the merchant ship "Glencairn" as it heads to war within Nazi submarine filled waters.

Which brings me to Gregg Toland's, "Best Cinematography" "Academy Award" nomination for the motion picture. Read any reviews of his work on this film and they all consider "The Long Voyage Home", Toland's testing ground for 1941's, "Citizen Kane".

According to Wallace Rodger Dale, in his 1976, "Gregg Toland--His Contributions to Cinema", for University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The cinematographer used back-projection to create a technique he called, deep-focus composition, keeping both the foreground and background in focus. Toland would improve on the technique for the Orson Welles motion picture. 

Another interesting result of Toland's style of filming Nichols' screenplay, was to turn the O'Neill plays into a Second World War Film-Noir not planned by either the director, or studio.

Gregg Toland's next motion picture premiered, below, in New York City, on May 1, 1941.

The screenplay was written by five people:
Herman J. Mankiewicz,
 by the time he wrote the main treatment for "Citizen Kane", had been the head of Paramount Studios scenario department and written and contributed to 80-motion pictures starting in 1926 with director Tod Browning's, "Road to Mandalay", starring Lon Chaney. Among his screenplays leading to this classic feature film were 1936's, "San Francisco" starring Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald, 1939's, "The Wizard of Oz", Mankiewicz wrote the opening and closing farm sequences, and 1940's, "Comrade X", starring Clark Gable and Hedy Lamarr.

Orson Welles has been writing for his radio program, "The Mercury Theatre of the Air". Welles also wrote the 1938 screenplay, for an adaption by his "Mercury Theatre", of playwright and actor William Gillette's "Too Much Johnson". The 66-minute film starring "Mercury Theatre's" Joseph Cotton was to have been used as part of a stage production, but that fell through when the legitimate stage theater had no way of showing it.

Both Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz won the "Best Original Screenplay" "Academy Award" for the motion picture.

However, there were three uncredited contributors to the screenplay.

John Houseman, a member of the "Mercury Theatre", contributed to the screenplay. He had been collaborating with Welles since the actor had agreed to star in a 1935 production of the play, "Panic", by Archibald MacLeish, that Houseman was producing. The play co-starred Houseman's ex-wife, Zita Johnann, known for Universal Pictures, 1932, "The Mummy", starring Boris Karloff.

This screenplay was the first for Roger Q. Denny, who went on to write screenplays for documentary films.

This was also Mollie Kent's only written screenplay. She went on to be a script supervisor for films such as 1954's, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", 1957's, Mickey Spillane's "My Gun is Quick", William Castle's, 1958, "Macabre", director John Frankenheimer's, 1962, "The Manchurian Candidate", and director Gene Kelly's, 1969, "Hello Dolly!".

Although Orson Welles claimed otherwise, there is enough in the screenplay to clearly state that "Charles Foster Kane" was based upon publisher William Randolph Hearst. The following are two major examples, forgetting about the building of "Kane's", "Xanadu", in Florida, as compared to the building of "Hearst's" "San Simeon Estate", in California.

The first is a scene in "Kane's" newspaper office in which two points are made:
"Kane" is into "Yellow Journalism" and talks about starting a war in Cuba to sell newspapers.

For those interested in the actual facts that involved both William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. Are in my article is entitled, "Hearst, Pulitzer, Theodore Roosevelt, Hollywood and the Spanish American War", and may be read at:


The second obvious point in the Welles-Mankiewicz screenplay is the character of "Charles Foster Kane's" second wife, "Susan Alexander Kane", as portrayed by "B" actress Dorothy Comingore, below.

There was a lot more to the real Marion Davies, versus "Susan Alexander Kane", and I cover her relationship to the motion picture character and reality in my article, "Marion Davies: Actress, Philanthropist, and the Mistress of William Randolph Hearst", found at:


It should be noted, that according to Richard Meryman, in his 1978 biography "Mank: The Wit, World and the Life of Herman Mankiewicz". Orson Welles' co-screenplay writer had traveled in William Randolph Hearst's circle for years, but came to hate him for being exiled from that same social circle effecting his career. Raising the question, was Joseph Cotton's, "Jedediah Leland", partly autobiographical?

Many sites state that Orson Welles had never made a motion picture and was completely in the dark about how to do it. That is not a completely accurate statement as he had shot the already mentioned 1938, "Too Much Johnson", and four-short subjects, before making 1941's, "Citizen Kane". Along with a 1940 documentary on the making of the motion picture.

According to Barbara Leming in her 1985, "Orson Welles, A Biography", the uncredited "Production Advisor" on "Citizen Kane", Miriam Geiger, had put together a training handbook for Welles that he read and kept in use throughout the film's production.

All I could locate about Miriam Geiger, who could be either a woman or man, was, according to IMDb, was as a writer who came up with the 1939 story for the forgotten motion picture, "Woman Doctor". Otherwise, Miriam Geiger's on-screen history only includes 6-scripts for televisions "Lassie", between 1957 and 1959, and two scripts, one in 1960, and one in 1961, for the television version of "National Velvet".  

Whatever the relationship between Welles and Geiger actually was, it is a known fact that he carried around a notebook full of information on making a motion picture, but prior to the start of filming, jad watched everything from German expressionist directors, Robert Wiene's, 1920's, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari", Fritz Lang's, 1927's, "Metropolis", and the work of French director Jean Renoir, to American directors, Frank Capra, King Vidor, and especially director John Ford's, 1939, "Stagecoach", multiple times.

Enter Gregg Toland:.

Orson Welles knew of Gregg Toland and would have liked him on his picture, but thought that was an impossibility for a novice director. However, in a May 14, 1970 interview between Welles and Dick Cavett, "Orson Welles Talking About 'Citizen Kane", Orson Welles stated that he considered Gregg Toland:
the greatest cameraman who ever lived
In that interview Welles explained to Cavett that Gregg Toland
came to my office and said, "I want to work in your picture. My name is Toland." And I said, "Why do you, Mr. Toland?" And he said, "Because you've never made a picture. You don't know what cannot be done." So I said, "But I really don't! Can you tell me?" And [Toland] said, "There's nothing to it." And [he] gave me a day-and-a-half lesson—and he was right!

Peter Bogdanovich and Jonathan Rosenbaum in their 1992, "This Is Orson Wells", quoted him as staying that Toland:

never tried to impress us that he was doing any miracles," Welles recalled. "I was calling for things only a beginner would have been ignorant enough to think anybody could ever do, and there he was, doing them.

The following is a little technical about Gregg Toland's filming of "Citizen Kane". I mentioned above, that "The Long Voyage Home" was a testing ground for Gregg Toland's deep-focus compositions.

According to Patrick Ogle's, 1972, "Technical and Aesthetic Influences Upon the Development of Deep Focus Cinematography in the United States", Screen Magazine, Volume 13, Number 1:

The main way to achieve deep focus was closing down the aperture which required increasing the lighting intensity, lenses with better light transmission and faster film stock. On Citizen Kane, the cameras and coated lenses used were of Toland's own design working in conjunction with engineers from Caltech. His lenses were treated with Vard Opitcoat to reduce glare and increase light transmission. 

Returning to Roger Dale Wallace's, 1976, "Gregg Toland--His Contributions to Cinema", the author mentions that Toland

used the Kodak Super XX film stock, which was, at the time, the fastest film available, with an ASA film speed of 100. Toland had worked closely with a Kodak representative during the stock's creation before its release in October 1938, and was one of the first cinematographers using it heavily on set.




Above, Orson Welles and Gregg Toland working on filming "Citizen Kane". Below, the Final Ending Title Card on the completed motion picture.

Orson Welles came from the world of legitimate theatre and not knowing that sets are lighted from above on motion pictures, had the lighting technicians light the sets from ground level and Gregg Toland left that mistake alone and filmed the motion picture.

The following are a selection of images shot by Gregg Toland to win the "Best Cinematography" "Academy Award" for "Citizen Kane".

Below, in front of the fill light mounted to his Mitchell camera, is Gregg Toland observing the performance of Dorothy Comingore. Orson Welles is in the wheel chair directing the scene having broken his leg.

Orson Welles co-produced and directed "Citizen Kane", Gregg Toland put it on film, and "Best Film Editing" "Academy Award" nominated Robert Wise made Toland's pieces of film fit together.

Before Robert Wise became a motion picture director, he was a film editor, and it was a problem on Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons", that gave him his first chance to direct. That story is a small part of my article, "Director Robert Wise: Horror, Science Fiction and the Greek Homer", available for your reading pleasure at:


Gregg Toland next filmed his sixth motion picture with director William Wyler.

THE LITTLE FOXES premiered in New York City on August 20, 1941

Wyler had just directed another Bette Davis motion picture, 1940's, "The Letter", and followed this motion picture, directing 1942's, "Mrs. Miniver", starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon.

Playwright Lillian Hellman had adapted her 1939 play into a screenplay. Set in 1900, this is the story about a woman trapped because of her sex, in an era where men look only upon their sons as legal heirs.

Bette Davis portrayed "Regina Hubbard Giddens". Davis was just in the 1941 comedy "The Bride Came C.O.D.", co-starring James Cagney, and followed this drama with another comedy, 1942's, "The Man Who Came to Dinner".

Herbert Marshall portrayed "Horace Giddens". Marshall had co-starred with Davis in William Wyler's, 1940 "The Letter".

Teresa Wright portrayed "Alexandra Giddens". This was Wright's first on-screen appearance and she followed it with William Wyler's, 1942, "Mrs. Miniver".

Richard Carlson portrayed "David Hewitt". Carlson had just co-starred in 1941's, "Hold That Ghost", starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. My article, "Richard Carlson the Academic Turned Actor", is found at:



Two motion pictures later found Gregg Toland filming for producer and billed director Howard Hughes.

THE OUTLAW premiered in San Francisco on February 5, 1943

The motion picture was filmed between November 11, 1940 and March 31, 1941, however, Howard Hughes had two problems with the Motion Picture Production Code, actress Jane Russell's breasts. She was portraying "Rio MacDonald".

As a result, 20th Century Fox cancelled it release agreement with Hughes and the motion picture sat until 1943, when Howard Hughes finally had "The Outlaw" cleared, and RKO Pictures released the feature film. My article, "HOWARD ROBARD HUGHES, JR.: The Motion Pictures", may be read at:


Although Howard Hughes is shown as the motion picture's director, Howard Hawks is listed as its uncredited director and many think he directed the majority of the motion picture. 

Of additional interest is that Howard Hawks was also one of the two uncredited screenplay writers on "The Outlaw". 

The screenplay for "The Outlaw" is credited to Jules Furthman, whose next two motion pictures just happen to be director Howard Hawks', 1944, "To Have and Have Not", and 1946's, "The Big Sleep", both starring "Boggie and Bacall"

The other uncredited writer was playwright, Ben Hecht, whose next screenplay, also uncredited, was director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1944, "Lifeboat". 

This was another motion picture about "Billy the Kid" with the unknown Jack Buetel in the role. 

For those of my readers interested in "Billy the Kid", my article, "BILLY THE KID: Hollywood Style" is found at:


Thomas Mitchell portrayed "Pat Garrett". He had just been seen in 1943's, "The Immortal Sergeant".

Walter Huston portrayed "Doc Holliday", somehow added to this story by Hughes. The actor had just portrayed James Cagney's father in 1942's, "Yankee Doodle Dandy".

The basic story has "Billy" and "Doc" as friends, but both men are fighting over "Rio's" love. While "Doc" is also the friend of "Pat Garrett", who is torn between "Billy" being an outlaw and his friend at the same time.

The following are examples of Gregg Toland's imagery:

The United States entered the Second World War on a peaceful Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. Two years later the event would be turned into an American propaganda film of two versions.


Gregg Toland received a call to come to the Washington, D.C. and the "Office of the Coordinator of Information", or the nation's intelligence agency. Later, during the war the name would be changed to the "Office of Strategic Services", and after the Second World War ended, the name became the "Central Intelligence Agency".

Toland was commissioned with the rank of "Lieutenant" and assigned to the Navy Photo Unit under the direction of "Commander John Ford".

Gregg Toland was assigned to make a documentary style propaganda motion picture about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He would co-direct the film with Ford, but it was Toland who recreated scenes of the attack that are blended seamlessly with actual footage that the audience and the "Office of the Coordinator of Information" could not tell which was which.

Toland's original version, "December 7th: The Movie", runs 82-minutes. Ford would cut it down to 32-minutes and that shorter version would win the "Best Documentary (Short Subject)" "Academy Award" in 1944.

I could not locate stills of the prologue, or epilogue created by Gregg Toland for his original version of "December 7th". They were removed by Navy Commander John Ford with the help of Navy film-editor, Robert Parrish, to bring the film closer to its shorter running time.

Toland's prologue included actor Walter Huston, portraying "Uncle Sam", aka: "U.S.", in Honolulu, Hawaii, dictating to his secretary "Miss Kim" (I couldn't find the actresses name), a letter to someone named "Jonathan". "Uncle Sam's" dictation is interrupted by the arrival of "Mr. C", portrayed by Harry Davenport, the conscience of the "U.S.", and "Miss Kim" is dismissed. The two restart their friendly argument that started back during the writing of the United States Constitution. "Mr. C" claims it's time to "go over the books" for the year 1941, because "there's some balancing to be done". 

Gregg Toland next recreates a story about the impact of American agriculture from Hawaii on Japan. How it was controlled by the "Big Five", a group of sugar cane producers and the major political power within the Hawaiian Islands. That group imported laborers from Japan to work the cane fields and the majority of them would become United States citizens. This leads into a discussion of Japanese Americans on the island and the showing a group of Japanese American students singing "God Bless America", and reciting "The Pledge of Allegiance". 

Next, the prologues goes into what led to the Pearl Harbor attack with a stronger American propaganda slant. Followed by images real and recreated by Gregg Toland of December 7, 1941.

Gregg Toland's epilogue had actor Dana Andrews portraying the "Ghost of a U.S. Sailor Killed at Pearl Harbor". The "Ghost" tells the viewing audience:
So that's the story of Pearl Harbor.....It's all true because I know, I was there.

The sailor turns and walking through a military grave yard is joined by a soldier from the First World War, portrayed by Paul Hurst. As the two continue to walk through the cemetery, it is mentioned that soldiers from other American conflicts are also buried in it, but the sailor says he has a hope for the future without war when this one ends. However, the soldier remains skeptical.

For those of my readers interested in this documentary, the original Gregg Toland version, as of this writing, can be found at:


The idea used by Gregg Toland in 1943 to recreate the people and events around the Pearl Harbor attack for propaganda purposes was not new. The idea was first used in 1942, for propaganda in Japan, with the recreation of the attack by Eiji Tsuburaya, the special effects supervisor for 1954's, "Gojira". Both films are part of my article, "I BOMBED PEARL HARBOR: December 7, 1941 in Motion Pictures", found at:


After the Second World War ended, inadvertently Gregg Toland found himself in a second war, not of bullets and flying bombs, but of words and racism.

WALT DISNEY'S "SONG OF THE SOUTH" premiered in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 12, 1946

The motion picture was part animation and part live action.

The animation was directed by Wilfred Jackson, who like most of the animation directors for Disney, from 1921 into 1937, were uncredited and animators themselves. However, that changed when Walt made 1937's, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", and Wilfred Jackson received full animation director's credit as one of three sequence directors with William Cottrell, and David Hand. 

For Walt Disney's 1940's, "Fantasia", Wilfred Jackson directed the animation for "Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria". He also directed sequences in both 1940's, "Pinocchio", and 1941's, "Dumbo", along with individual complete cartoons. 


The live action was directed by Harve Foster. Foster had been an "Assistant Director" between 1937 and 1943. What he did between 1943 and 1946, I could not locate and might speculate he served in the military. In 1946, Foster was hired by Walt Disney for this motion picture, which seems to be his only motion picture work that year. In 1947 he appears to have made only the motion picture, "The Fabulous Joe", a comedy fantasy for the Hal Roach Studios. He is not credited for anything else until he started directing for television in 1951 into 1959.

The screenplay for "Song of the South" was based upon one of Walt's childhood favorites, "The Uncle Remus" stories by Joel Chandler Harris. That screenplay is actually two screenplays in one, live action, and animated.

The animated portion was was written by Bill Peet, Ralph Wright, and Veron Stalings. All Disney animation writers and animators that had worked on the same films as Wilfred Jackson.

The live action portion writers were:

 Dalton S. Reymond, this was his only screenplay, he had been the "technical advisor" on 1938's, "Jezebel", and 1941's, "The Little Foxes".

Morton Grant,
wrote mainly "B" Westerns and Mysteries.

Maurice Rapf, the story creator for Wallace Beery's, 1937, "The Bad Man of Brimstone", and the Ann Sheridan and Richard Carlson, 1939, "Winter Carnival". Rapf would work on Walt Disney's, 1948, "So Dear to My Heart", and 1950's, "Cinderella".

The live actions sequences were filmed by Gregg Toland.

All the original posters for "Song of the South" have no actors names on it, because Walt Disney was promoting the feature as another animated film. 

Ruth Warrick portrayed "Sally", the mother of "Johnny". Warrick's first on-screen appearance was as, "Emily Monroe Norton Kane", in 1941's, "Citizen Kane". Warrick's career is mostly known for television, in 1953, she was "Janet Johnson", on the soap opera, "The Guiding Light", between 1956 and 1960, she was "Edith Hughes" om "As the World Turns", from 1961 into 1962, she played "Eleanor Banks", on "Father of the Bride", and between 1965 into 1969, Ruth Warrick portrayed "Hannah Cord", in the prime-time soap opera, "Peyton Place".

Bobby Driscoll
portrayed "Johnny". For Walt Disney, Driscoll also appeared in 1948's, "So Dear to My Heart", portrayed "Jim Hawkins" in 1950's, "Treasure Island", and was the voice of "Peter Pan", in 1953. His life seemed perfect to America and 1950's boys dreamed of being Driscoll fighting pirates, but Hollywood lies. As my article, "Bobby Driscoll: The Darkside of Child Acting, 'Peter Pan's Real Neverland" reveals at:

Hattie McDaniel portrayed "Aunt Tempy" and had won the "Best Supporting Actress" "Academy Award" for 1939's, "Gone with the Wind", but like Bobby Driscoll's real life. The reality of McDaniel's "Academy Award" wasn't what Hollywood told Americans.

James Baskett portrayed both "Uncle Remus" and was the voice of "Br'er Fox". Like Hattie McDaniel, James Baskett's story to become the first African American man to receive an "Academy Award" isn't what Hollywood wanted people to know about them at the time. 

The story of Hattie McDaniel and James Baskett will be found in my article, "HATTIE MCDANIEL and JAMES BASKETT: Racism, the Academy Awards and the First African American Winners", at:


Within the African American community, at the time of the picture's original release, it was debated if southern born Walter Elias Disney wasn't a racist, because stories going back to the 1920's seem to imply that about him. 

Both sides of the issue were discussing Walt Disney's scenes of slaves happily singing on their way to and from the cotton fields and in the animation segments, his use of the infamous tar baby story. To be fair, while some African American newspapers were attacking the "Song of the South", others said the family feature gave African American parents a means of a learning experience for their children.

"Song of the South" was re-released in 1986 and faced backlash from both the NAACP and CORE. Although my reader can find the film in Canada, the United Kingdom, and other countries, Disney still will not re-release it in the United States.




Below are images of Gregg Toland's work:

"Song of the South" was immediately followed by Gregg Toland's seventh and final motion picture with director William Wyler.

Former Army Photographic Unit Major William Wyler and Navy Photographic Unit Lieutenant Gregg Toland returned to the Second World War, but not to the fighting of far too many war movies, but to the returning veterans who gave the war ....

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES premiered in New York City on November 21, 1946

Wyler had filmed and released, his "Academy Award" winning documentary, 1944's, "The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress", filmed partly by him while accompanying the crew into combat on one of their bombing missions over Germany.

The screenplay was by Robert E Sherwood, a Canadian First World War veteran, and a playwright. Sherwood's plays that were turned into motion pictures included, "Waterloo Bridge", his Pulitzer Prize winning, "Idiot's Delight", and "Abe Lincoln in Illinois".

The screenplay was based upon historical novelist MacKinlay Kantor's, 1945, novella of the same name.

Starting with "Best Picture", and "Best Director", the motion picture was nominated for Ten "Academy Awards", and won Nine. Gregg Toland's cinematography was not nominated by the Academy.

The screenplay focused on three returning veterans, who meet on a military aircraft that is taking them back to their same hometown. The three are "USAAF bombardier Captain Fred Derry", portrayed by Dana Andrews, "U.S. Army Sergeant Al Stephenson", portrayed by Frederic March, and "U.S. Navy Petty Officer Homer Parrish", portrayed by Harold John Avery Russell. 

Harold Russell was an Army demolition instructor who lost both his hands from a defective fuse while teaching others. He was also the first non-professional actor to win an "Academy Award", as the "Best Supporting Actor".

Each of the three men come back to complications of one sort, or another from being away. "Fred", a soda jerk at a drug store, married "Marie", portrayed by Virginia Mayo, just before shipping out. "Al" worked at the local bank, and is married to "Milly", portrayed by Myrna Loy, and has two children, "Homer", the star high school athlete, had planned on marrying his next-door neighbor, "Wilma", portrayed by Cathy O'Donnell".

With frank honesty, we see "Fred" deal with what we now know as PTSD flashbacks and a wife who goes out with other men. "Al" is given a promotion at the bank, but deals with alcoholism. "Homer" worries that "Wilma" will no longer want to marry a man with mechanical hands.

The following shows how Gregg Toland filmed this character study.

Below, Gregg Toland is next to his camera, going over a scene with director William  Wyler, with Dana Andrews and Virginia Mayo in the background.

"The Best Years of Our Lives" would be followed by a fantasy romance.

THE BISHOP'S WIFE premiered in London, England, on November 25, 1947

Even though the motion picture starred Cary Grant portraying "Dudley", Loretta Young portraying the title character, "Julia Brougham", and David Niven portraying "Bishop Henry Brougham", the motion picture started out as a box office failure. 

Many potential viewers believed, because of the movies title that it was a religious story. In actuality the screenplay, set at Christmas, was about a Bishop having trouble raising money for a new cathedral and asking for divine intervention. Sauvé "Dudley", an angel, arrives to help him and of course "Henry's" wife is a little more than charmed by "Dudley" and her husband becomes jealous.

Producer Samuel Goldwyn changed the posters slightly, especially in the United States, and the box office increased approximately 25-percent.


Problems aside, Gregg Toland did his excellent cinematography work.

From June 16, 1947 to September 26, 1947, Gregg Toland filmed director Howard Hawks' musical:

A SONG IS BORN that was released on October 19, 1948

I mentioned the filming dates for "A Song Is Born", because when the motion picture was released on October 19, 1948, cinematographer Gregg Wesley Toland, age 44-years, was no longer with us. He had passed away one-month-earlier, on September 28, 1948.

Released three-months after his death on December 11, 1948, was, "Enchantment", the final film Gregg Toland worked upon. This was a typical Hollywood "tear-jerker" love story with an excellent cast and screenplay set during the Second World War in London.


Cecil B. DeMille: December 1913 to December 1923

 --- but DeMille said “Let There Be Biblical Sex” and it was good. The above line is from my article, "The Bible According to Hollywood...